Kimberley Nixon is criminally underrated. The 23-year-old actress has flourished in just about every genre into which she has ventured: she got excellent reviews as Sophy Hutton in the recent adaptation of Cranford, is delightfully bitchy in both Angus, Thongs, and Perfect Snogging and Wild Child, and looks set to be completely and utterly awesome in the more independent upcoming films Cherrybomb and Easy Virtue (her costar in which film, Ben Barnes, we spoke to recently as well!). There's a lot to be said about her... but how about we let her speak for herself?
First of all could you talk a bit about your character in Cherrybomb?
I play Michelle; she arrives in Luke and Malachy’s world like a whirlwind and completely changes the dynamic of the relationship between these two best friends. She is sassy and confident but there is a vulnerability there that only one of the boys will see.
What was it like working with Rupert Grint? How did he seem to adapt to the indie atmosphere?
Rupert was great to work with. Ron Weasley was quickly forgotten when we started to rehearse and shoot the film. He instantly became Malachy and I was really impressed because it must be hard to shake a character you’ve been playing for almost half your life. But I think he preferred the pace of an indie movie; we would do between 6-10 scenes a day and he said on Potter they would just about complete one.
It almost feels like it’s against type for you, but it’s so hard to tell because your celluloid debut was last year. Is this a type of film you hope to keep making?
Definitely. This was more the kind of material and character that I worked on in drama school, so to get back to it within a year of working professionally was really thrilling.
Speaking of type, you actually have a pretty diverse repertoire thus far: chick flicks, period pieces, independent film. Is there a particular reason for this diversification?
I have been incredibly lucky so far and no-one’s more aware of it than me. There was a danger when I graduated of always been the ‘girl next door’ but working with a great agency I have been seen for a huge spectrum of roles, which is not the norm in this business. It’s very easy to get boxed in.
How is your approach different for a period piece than for something modern?
I am always more relaxed in a contemporary piece than a period one. But with the latter, there is an ease there for me, which I can’t really explain. I like the restriction of the costumes and dialogue.
Speaking of which, Cranford, Easy Virtue, and in fact Angus, Thongs, and Perfect Snogging were literary adaptations. How did this differ from playing an entirely originally created role?
I have never let this worry me. I always look at the character on my own and make my own decisions about who they are. You can never please all the people all the time, so I play them truthfully and I think that’s a good start.
Let’s talk about stage work. You were in Girl with a Pearl Earring recently. How was that?
I played Griet in Girl With A Pearl Earring on stage last year and I made the decision not to watch the film version with Scarlett Johansson, as I wanted her to be mine. But I can’t wait to watch it now and see how we differed or were similar in our choices. But having my professional theatrical debut in the Haymarket in London’s West End was breath-taking. I find stage work easier as that’s how I was trained…but I love the challenge of film. I find the difference in processes fascinating.
Do you wish to pursue theatre more thoroughly?
Yes, I am already excited about the theatre work I could do in the future. I have done quite a few classics, so a new, contemporary piece would be a great thing for me to do.
I assume you sing, since in college you appeared in Quadrophenia—do you ever think you’d participate in a similar project?
I was in Quadrophenia in drama school but am under no illusions that I am a singer. I find the entire thing absolutely frightening, which is why I auditioned for Quad in the first place: I wanted to face my fear. But there are much better singers out there than me!
Would you like to incorporate music more into future roles that you play? What sorts of roles are you especially keen on playing?
I do love when work I have done is fused with music and I don’t just mean where a film or play has a soundtrack laid on top but that music is a real part of the rehearsal process and helps shape the final product. I did a play called Road that we toured to Milan and I loved how we used music in that show. I would love to play someone super cool and together…who always looks immaculate and is one step ahead of the game. I am very clumsy in real life and really admire that ‘cool’ quality in people. I just don’t have it.
You’ve said you’re a film buff! Could you tell me some of your favorites—classics, scarcely-known indie films, anything else?
My favourite film is French Kiss with Kevin Kline and Meg Ryan. I accidentally came across it when I was younger and fell in love with it. I am a huge Kevin Kline fan. Princess Bride is definitely in my top 3 and the other one is probably Moulin Rouge. I hated it the first time I watched it but when I watched it a second time, it just got me and I love how a film or piece of theatre can do that. You can love something as a whole when piece by piece you’d normally hate it. But I love 80s and early 90s feel-good movies, usually with Michael J. Fox.
What actors in particular do you like, especially with regards to independent or lesser-known actors?
Kevin Kline and Robyn Wright Penn are two people I always loved watching. I think it’s their eyes. I always think blue eyes look more truthful that brown, haha. I have worked with some great actors who are well known but are geniuses in their own field. Katherine Parkinson and Christian Brassington (Easy Virtue) are hilarious and quirky and just brilliant, Sophie Wu (Wild Child) is an excellent comedic actress and writes a lot of her own material but it’s pretty off-the-wall and Georgia Groome (Angus, Thongs) is a great actress and I can’t wait to see her in her first play in London very soon.
Are you a big reader? What is some of your favorite literature?
I am an avid reader. My favourite author is Agatha Christie: I adore murder mysteries and the period in which her books are set from the 20s to the 50s. I also love Jane Austen, I know it’s not original but a classic is a classic and Pride and Prejudice is a wonderful book. And I have already worked with Mr Darcy, even though he played my Dad!
Is there anything else you’ve been working on (film or otherwise) about which you’re particularly excited?
There are several films in the pipeline which I am excited about. My boyfriend is writing a feature film at the moment, that I will beg for a part in and I just completed a short for my younger brother, who directed it. I can’t wait to find out what my next part will be.
Keep your eye out for the release of Cherrybomb and Easy Virtue.